Sweden and Finland, the two countries that have long maintained neutral between the U.S.-led West and Russia but turned to the Western bloc since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will officially be admitted to the NATO alliance at the NATO summit, which will take place in Madrid, Spain on June 29 and 30 (local time), thanks to Turkey’s withdrawal of its objection and reversal of its stance to supporting the joining of the Nordic states. On Tuesday, Russia declared that it would deploy nuclear weapons in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea in the event of the admission of Sweden and Finland into the NATO alliance. The prospect of a new nuclear Cold War is becoming more real in a time of upheaval in the European security landscape.
The Reuters reported that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Madrid on Tuesday and signed a trilateral memorandum, which said Turkey supports the Nordic countries’ NATO membership. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg practically acknowledged the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland as fact by saying that he is “absolutely confident” that the joining of Finland and Sweden to the NATO alliance is “something that will take place.”
Sweden has maintained neutrality and remained a non-aligned country for 208 years since 1814, and Finland, which sits adjacent to Russia along a 1,100 kilometer-long border, has remained a neutral and non-aligned country for 74 years since 1948. However, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, security concerns heightened, which nudged the Nordic states to join the NATO alliance.